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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Don't Blame the Guards

March 15, 2004

The Times unfairly castigates prison guards in its March 10 editorial when it says, "No other California union's success for its members has been so disastrous to public safety ... the adult system has perhaps the nation's worst recidivism rate."

Recidivism is mainly a function of length of sentence. It is partly a function of prison crowding. Sentences are getting longer in California, and the prisons are getting more crowded. We need to increase the scope of community programs to stop criminality before it starts. Let's not blame the guards for our failure to adopt progressive methods for nipping crime in the bud.

Jerrold Cohen

Seal Beach

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